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At gamescom we had the opportunity to play the upcoming entry in the Like a Dragon series (formerly Yakuza).
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is set between the end of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life and the next mainline title, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, due out in 2024. As in the six main Yakuza games, we slip into the role of Kiryu Kazuma. The ex-yakuza has gone into hiding and hired himself out as a bodyguard. When the children of his orphanage on Okinawa are once again threatened, he comes out of his cover and has to fight his way through crowds of gangsters again. Unlike the last mainline entry Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Like a Dragon Gaiden is an action-adventure and not a turn-based role-playing game. Kiryu uses the two fighting styles Agent and Yakuza. While Kiryu uses tried and true yakuza-style punches and kicks, in agent fighting style he uses ropes to throw several enemies through the air (“Spider”) or he uses an armada of AI-controlled drones (“Hornet”), flies through the level in shoes with mini-jet engines (“Serpent”) and distributes mini-bombs in the form of cigarettes to his opponents (“Firefly”).
In the short demo we were able to explore the castle known from the trailer, the Osaka Castle from Yakuza 2 and Yakuza Kiwami (remake of the first game). There’s something to discover around every corner. In the boutique, we can dress Kiryu in new clothes, putting together outfits for running around and for fighting, such as putting him in colleague Goro Majima’s iconic snakeskin jacket, adjusting his make-up and putting on various masks. In the final game we’ll be able to explore Sotenbori, Osaka and Isezaki Ijincho, Yokohama in these outfits. In the casino we can indulge in gambling and in the cabaret club we can talk to hostesses and treating them to expensive drinks. The interactions with the hostesses are depicted in live-action scenes, a first for the series. In the Coliseum we can select the modes Tournament, Special Event Match, Hell Rumble and Team Hell Rumble. Only the latter two modes were available in the demo. As part of the Platinum Tiger Festival, we face various waves of opponents, either alone or in a team if desired, and are supported by numerous series veterans such as Goro Majima, Taiga Saejima and Daigo Dojima. The fights are easy to get into like in the Yakuza games or Judgment spin-offs, but the combat system offers some depth and is accompanied by a great soundtrack. The context-sensitive impressive “heat” finishers are also back. We haven’t seen how character development will work out yet.
With Like a Dragon Gaiden, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and SEGA continue the Yakuza/LAD series with an action-adventure starring veteran Kazuma Kiryu. The demo suggests that there will again be some great-looking locations, a deep but easy-to-learn combat system, and useful innovations. In addition, there are numerous mini-games such as karaoke, billiards, golf and pocket circuit and a story that is hopefully just as gripping as in the previous parts. The first cutscenes from the trailer already give an idea. Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name will be available to download on November 9th, 2023 on PC (Steam), PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.